Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Gifts that Give Back

Today I wanted to talk to you about a few gifts that help. I enjoy giving and receiving presents but I sometimes feel that Christmas has got a bit out of hand. I feel that in some cases gifts are bought and money spent just for the sake of it. I know I am guilty of this, but today I wanted to share a few gifts that will help someone in need this Christmas time. 

After losing her mother to cancer Caroline decided to embark on a mission to raise funds for the charity her mother had supported volunteering in their charity shop, Cancer Research UK. Throughout 2015 she styled herself in 365 outfits all from cancer research uk shops and posted them to her instagram account. I followed everyday waiting to see what she would style next (If you don't know I have my own similar instagram account where I try and share my charity shop finds) and when the book finally came out I couldnt wait to get my hands on it! I love going through it and getting outfit inspiration all the while knowing that my money has gone to a good cause! 

A charity closer to home for me is the Rainbows children hospice. Opened in 1994 this hospice supports children and young people and their families during there short lives. The Beauty Kitchen are selling this duo via Holland and Barrett with 100% of the profits going directly to the charity. I think this is absolutely amazing as one of my biggest bug bears is when brands try and sell consumers a £50 tshirt with the guise of oh the proceeds go to charity when actually only a teeny percentage actually make it to the charity! 

Charity Shop Goods

Ok, I know some people dont like buying second hand and wouldn't dream of giving a second hand gift (You are missing out on a trick here as over the years I have bought my husband some amazing things) but a lot of charity shops sell brand new goods! I know in Leicester alone LOROS sell a range of homewares, Oxfam sell a huge range of products including divine chocolates and beer bread making kits and British heart foundation have a range of jewellry and accesories so go and have a look!

A monthly donation to support a charity

I currently have three monthly direct debits that go to charity. Loros, RSPCA and Battersea dogs and cats. I am never going to dictate which charities I think people should support but find a cause thats close to you. My donation to each of the charities is around £5 so out of my budget thats pretty much the equivalent of one lunch out.

Do you have anything you could add to the list? 

Monday, 4 December 2017

Midland Musicals Menu: December

I am pretty sure that if I had an unlimited funds I would go to the theatre every week. For as long as I can remember I have been a massive fan of musicals. From the age of 9 I performed in many (starting in the starring role as Annie) and I have always enjoyed the theatre. From the moment the overture starts I feel goosebumps all over my body. This year I managed to see quite a few shows including Miss Saigon which blew me away and going forward into next year I hope to see more! So, during the first week of each month I am going to put together a menu of shows across the midlands that I would like to see, or recommend seeing! 

This month I only have 3 musicals as most theatres have their pantomine on and unpopular opinion I am not a fan of the panto! I used to love it growing up but these days as a child free by choice woman the thought of sitting in a room full of children does not fill me with joy! So what should you see this month?

Scrooge - Curve Leicester

Since performing in this back in 2004 (playing the amazing roles of Teddy in the toy ballet and girl with sledge) I have watched the dvd every single Christmas. When I saw that it was coming to the Curve I snapped up tickets straight away. The classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge being visited by the ghosts is set to a wonderful score with songs including Christmas children and my all time favourite Thankyou very much you will be singing along all the way into the new year!  

Running from the 18th November until the 7th January tickets are priced between £10 and £45. I am going to see it on the 16th December so look out for my review! 

A young steel working woman who performs fashion driven dances in a club... whats not to love? The show is adapted from the 80s film of the same name and features songs such as Maniac, I love rock and roll and of course what a feeling. 

I haven't seen this musical yet but it runs from the 4th to the 9th of December at the Birmingham New Alexandra theatre. Tickets are priced between £20.40 and £63.90

That is all I could find this month musicals wise! Most other theatres have either pantomimes or ballet which aren't really my cup of tea (although I do love the nutcracker) Are you a fan of musicals? I already have a long list of things I want to see in 2018!

Friday, 1 December 2017


It started with a game of Darts.

I'm sure that's not the way most stories start, and actually it might not technically be the beginning but its where my mind goes to. We were on holiday, I was reading body positive power and Tom was drinking ice cold coca cola. The entertainment team came over to ask if we'd like to play darts. I hesitated but Tom said go on, so yes, I'll give it a go. It might sound like nothing but the anxiety that has lived with me for years gave me all the reasons to say no. Would I look stupid? What if I couldn't even hit the dart board and everyone laughed at me. I mean in the past I would have had a multitude of other thoughts about how my body would look and move while I played, but those thoughts are rarely present these days. I got up and played anyway. Against a group of English men and one German. I wasn't terrible, I hit the board and I had a great time.

So the next day I played again. I only went and won! Over the course of the week we played quite a bit and I won two of the tournaments! The thing that stood out in my mind is that old me would have sat on the sun bed and not have even joined in and here I was enjoying myself, playing darts and finding out I was actually quite good at it. 

I think my mindset had already changed before we had even gone away though. October was a pretty shit month which started with a car crash and ended with me in surgery. It made me realise that I need to get out there and try more new things and so my new motto is I'll Give It A Go. I intend to try new things, new experiences, new foods and just generally push myself out of my comfort zone. I am going to come up with a sort of bucket list and instead of filling it full of things like get to my goal weight it will be all the things I want to try! I asked on my facebook what my friends think I should try and so far I have: 

Horse Riding
Scuba Diving
Bungee Jump

Anything else I should add to my list? 

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Pho Leicester, Review

When I attended the soft opening of the Leicester branch of Pho a few months back I was absolutely blown away by the flavors of the food. Despite the teething problems I was excited to take my husband there. However when we returned there were still a lot of dishes missing from the menu and a very rude waitress really soured my opinion. After speaking to the manager we were very kindly invited back to see if things had improved. Had they?

On arrival we were greeted into a warm and cosy restaurant by the bubbly members of staff. It was such a cold night I was looking forward to getting some food into our bellies! We ordered our drinks (with me having the gin spritzer and tom a Saigon beer) and were given time to browse the menu! The staff were on hand to help if we needed, but I already knew what we were both going to have! My drink was beautiful balanced, with the flavours of fresh mint lime and cucumber. The Saigon beer was also very light and refreshing (and I am not a beer drinker myself). We were also bought a plate of Banh Phong Tom which are prawn crackers with a sweet chilli sauce to eat through as we browsed. I think this was one of the reasons neither of us finished our mains ... but more on that later! I also highly recommend their fresh juices as they are delicious! Most you can have with or without ginger depending if you want to give it that kick!

So on to starters. Anyone who knows me will know that I opted for the Muc Chien Gion (tender baby squid with a lime, pepper and salt dip) as it is potentially one of my favourite foods in the entire world. The squid is so crisp and light, unlike other restaurants where I find the batter far too heavy. You squeeze the lime into the dish so you can add as much or as little as you like. I went the whole way with it and so the dip was very sour but that's just how i like it! Tom on the other hand opted for the Canh Ga (crispy chicken wings with siracha) and in his own words proclaimed them the best chicken wings he has ever eaten! I have to admit they were perfectly crisp on the outside while remaining tender on the inside. Word of warning though, the siracha is one spicy dip! Even Tom who enjoys having his mouth on fire exercised caution with this dip! I had a pin head size amount and had to flag the waiter over and ask for water! 

I will apologise that this photo is a bit blurry, as the food got to the table the aroma was so appealing that I am surprised I got a photo before we started eating! Tom went for the Spicy Green (can you see a theme here) all of the Pho is served with a herb plate so you can add which herbs and spices you like, making one flavour more intense. Tom had a great time smelling each herb and deciding what to add to his Pho. Now I am not a spice fan but after trying a mouthful of Toms I had serious envy! In his own words it was the most flavoursome food he had ever tasted and I have to agree with him. The dish was warming, the perfect thing for a cold winters night and I am sure as the nights draw ever colder I will be back for the spicy green! My broken rice dish with char grilled chicken thighs was also very tasty, topped with peanuts for that extra crunch. All of the ingredients tasted fresh and there was an array of flavours to really engage your taste buds!

Just look at all the colours in that dish! Anyway, as I mentioned earlier we both become very full very quickly. I think due to the fact we were eating more slowly and really appreciating all of the flavours in each dish. This was not a problem though as we were able to have our leftovers put into takeaway tubs to take home (and leftovers are always the best right?) I am looking forward to having mine for lunch, and also contemplating whether eating this now at 9am would be a good idea? 

Will we be re visiting Pho? Pho Sure we will! We had a fantastic meal and I am sure that it is now on our radar for the very near future. I plan to be in Leicester a lot during December for both work and pleasure and nothing could be better than a steaming bowl of Pho on a chilly day! 

Charlotte Lucy
This meal was provided free of charge in exchange for a review. As always all opinions are my own.

Monday, 13 November 2017

The Week One.

One of the things I love about blogging is being nosy. Seeing what people are really loving and honestly up to each week. So each Sunday I am going to be providing you with a quick fire round up of things I have been enjoying that week. So this week I have been ...

Eating everything! After getting my appetite back following my surgery I have really enjoyed eating. My favourite thing was perhaps the vegetarian brunch from Centro Lounge (and don't judge me, I added streaky bacon) also I found out today that my all time favourite wrap The Halloumi & Courgetti one is now back at boots!!

Drinking A lot of water! Thanks to my new Eau good duo water bottle. I have been drinking a lot more water while I have been at home! I was kindly sent this, and I have to be honest I am not sure that I would spend the £24 on it. It has a stick of Japenese binchaton charcoal in the bottle which is to soften the water, add minerals and take away contaminants and also rid your water of unwanted tastes and odours. I am a sucker for anything that makes water taste less metallic. It also has a built in infuser cap so I am looking forward to filling it up with fruit! 

Wearing the same mustard jumper and maternity leggings! If you have ever had abdominal surgery you will know that afterwards you are sore and swollen on your belly and so my go to outfit of choice has been these maternity leggings that pull right up to under my boobs and they are without a doubt the most amazing things I have ever bought. The mustard jumper from LOTD is the most perfect cosy knitted over sized jumper and I am so sad that it really should go in the wash soon ... 

Reading Intuitive eating because I fully believe that it is the way forward. 

Raging about the fact that I haven't been paid a single penny sick pay since I have been off work. Despite numerous emails and phone calls I don't feel like I am getting any closer so please keep your fingers crossed for me! 

Singing along at the top of my voice to my musicals play list. I have been really loving the Joseph soundtrack, along with Sweet Charity and Ghost.

Sleeping a lot more than usual. I am trying to just listen to my body and let it do what it needs to do to get me back on track and well again!

Preparing for a winter sun holiday! I am flying to Torremelinos soon and so it has been really fun to pull out all my summery clothes and hang them on the back of my door ready for planning. I intend to have a full week of reading, eating and relaxing!

Charlotte Lucy

Friday, 10 November 2017

I had Surgery! And how I am recovering ...

Hello everyone! 

I miss my blog. I need to take things slowly (I am currently writing this from bed) but actually for the sake of my mental health I feel that I need to write. To talk about whats been going on in my head, what I have been doing (which honestly is watching far too much telly and spending far too much time alone) and what I have been loving. 

Ok, so after having a scan of my ovaries on the 26th October I was placed on an urgent list for surgery (within 6 weeks) but then after spending the whole of the weekend unable to keep any food or fluid in I ended up having emergency surgery on the afternoon of the 30th which didn't go totally to plan. I ended up losing a lot more blood than I should have and was in theatre for nearly 5 hours. By the time I got back to the ward I felt horrendous and was faced with a very worried Husband! Despite this I was discharged the next day on a load of pills ... only to end up back on the ward with a raging infection!

Fast forward a week I am home and off my antibiotics but I didn't realise how slow I would have to take things! I have had the surgery twice before and been up and about within a week but due to the anaemia I am finding it all really strange trying to get myself up and about without feeling horrendously dizzy. My body doesn't cope well with antibiotics either and having been on 3 different lots I feel like my body is completely rebelling against me. I have no appetite (which if you know me is very strange.) and also my mouth is sore and dry, which makes eating anything other than really bland food hurt. 

There are quite a few things I have been enjoying tv wise and I will be back with a round up in this weeks Sunday post (yup I am bringing them back!) But for now I am not sure when I will be back to a blogging scheduele, for now you can find me in the house wrapped in a cosy jumper drinking tea! 

Charlotte Lucy